Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Calling For Innovation In Railway Safety, Piyush Goyal Says Money No Bar

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today called for innovation in making the railways safer while stressing that enough money is available for the purpose.

Speaking at the International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railway and Metro Projects which was also attended by Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Mr Goyal also said that budget allocations are a limitation and tend to hold back research and innovation.

“Personally, I believe a budget is a limitation, it holds you back. Allocation of a budget doesn’t allow scientists to flourish as he wants to. Budgets restrict innovation,” said Mr Goyal as he called for out-of-the-box thinking to improve rail safety features like as signaling systems and fog vision for locomotive pilots.

 The railways is embarking on a massive programme to ensure safety of the entire network, he said. “As much money as required is available for safety.

“I am not even saying it will be made available, I am saying it is available,” he said, adding that he cannot make the railways safe without new ideas and he hoped that the conference will help generate innovations.

After a September 30 high-level meeting on Railways safety in Mumbai, it was decided that foot overbridges, platforms and pathways on platform ends will have the highest priority as safety items with no budgetary restriction.

This follows the furore raised after the stampede on a foot overbridge in Mumbai last month.

The rail minister also pointed to Vice President Naidu’s speech on September 27 at the IISc Bengaluru where he said that innovation plays a key role in driving the knowledge-based economy.

To highlight his point, Mr Goyal said that the last time a train with additional speed, comfort and safety features was introduced was way back in 1969 — the Rajdhani Express.

“From 1969 to 2017 we have not embarked on any major new technological initiative that will take us to international standards of passenger safety, comfort, convenience and speed,” he said.

Japan, he said, has progressed technologically as it has managed to create an ecosystem where scientists and researchers can think out-of-the-box.

“Our plan for the future is to create an ecosystem where the scientific community will choose to stay in India and not go to NASA,” the minister said.

He said the railways is open to engaging with experts in improving the environment, stations and passenger convenience.

Enumerating his expectations from the scientific community, the Railway Minister said he needs technology and know-how to improve driver vision during foggy weather, make the signaling system better, manufacture tracks faster and more efficiently, and predict track failures or fractures.

“I do believe that the time has come for us to aggressively go in for newer technologies and better ways of doing work. We will have to work collectively to see what can be done faster and smarter,” he said.

His comments come in the wake of serious questions being raised on railway safety following a string of accidents over the last few months.

Ten coaches of the Kaifiyat Express derailed in August, injuring more that 20 people. This was the second rail accident, coming only days after 23 people were killed in another derailment in Uttar Pradesh.

In the same month, nine coaches of the Duronto Express derailed in Mumbai, although no casualties or injuries were reported.

The Rajdhani Express traveling from Jammu Tawi derailed in New Delhi in September, a week after the Shaktikunj Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh.

Most Flood-Hit Train Services In Northeast Restored: Official

2:10 pm Buzzing Stock: Ratnamani Metals and Tubes gained over 5 percent intraday as investors cheered a ratings coverage on the stock.

ICICI Direct initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating and a target price of Rs 1,050.

The brokerage house said that Ratnamani is perfectly positioned to cater upcoming demand. In fact, it added that a revival in capex in key industries could provide requisite demand push.

1:55 pm Europe mixed: European equities hovered around the flatline on Wednesday morning as investors kept a close eye on events in Catalonia, where the leader of the region’s separatist government has said he will declare independence “in a matter of days.”

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.05 percent higher with most sectors moving in positive territory. Auto stocks led the gains in early deals, up by more than 1 percent. The sector was pushed higher by positive car sales data out of the U.S. on Tuesday.

1:45 pm Market View: Indian market which rose to a fresh record high last month saw some profit booking at higher levels. Meanwhile, the Nifty50 which rose a little over 7 percent in the first half of 2018 starting from April 1 to September 29, 2017.

According to CLSA a cut in auto fuel taxes will impact government revenues by 16 bps of GDP on a yearly basis.

The firm believes that revenue reduction and uncertainties with respect to GST collections could raise fiscal concerns. Meanwhile, the FPI sentiment on the equity could be weak until corporate earnings recovery sets in.

1:25 pm Market Check: Investors continued buying ahead of the RBI MPC’s outcome announcement, with the Nifty trading above 9900-mark.

The Sensex was up 211.24 points at 31708.62, while the Nifty was up 63.95 points at 9923.45. The market breadth was positive as 1,470 shares advanced against a decline of 946 shares, while 111 shares were unchanged.

Sun Pharma, ITC, and Aurobindo Pharma gained the most, while Bharti Airtel and Axis Bank were the top losers.

12:40 pm Gold update: Gold prices were higher by Rs 61 to Rs 29,416 per 10 gram in futures trade as speculators widened their bets taking positive cues from the global market.

At Multi Commodity Exchange, gold for delivery in October was up by Rs 61 or 0.21 percent to Rs 29,416 per 10 gram in business turnover of 28 lots.

The metal for delivery in far-month December also moved up by Rs 44 or 0.15 percent to Rs 29,553 per 10 gram in a turnover of 516 lots.

12:20 pm Market Check: Investors continued buying activity hours before the RBI’s monetary policy committee (MPC) announces its decision on key interest rates.

The Sensex was up 185.09 points at 31682.47, while the Nifty was up 59.50 points at 9919.00. The market breadth was positive as 1,449 shares advanced against a delcine of 887 shares, while 97 shares were unchanged.

Sun Pharmaceuticals, ITC and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories gained the most on both indices, while Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank and Coal India lost the most.

11:59 am Rate expectations: The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy committee is set to announce its decision later today. A CNBC-TV18 poll shows that the RBI may hold the repo rate at 6 percent.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Deepali Bhargava, Economist at Credit Suisse spoke at length about the same. Not expecting any rate cut today, said Bhargava.

She further said that it will be important to see what RBI says about the growth of the economy.

11:35 am Market Outlook: The Centre has cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre and now CNBC-TV18 learns that states have also been asked to review the value added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel.

In an interview, Harshvardhan Dole, Vice President-Institutional Equities, IIFL shared his readings and outlook on the same.

The government has taken a very proactive step and in a way they have supported their own reforms agenda in a big way, he said.

We like all the three oil marketing companies (OMCs), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and among the three HPCL is our top pick, he added.

11:20 am Full fledged internet telephony soon? Shortly after cutting local mobile-to-mobile termination charges to 6 paise per minute from 14 paise, the telecom regulator is set to shake up the market further.

This time, the impact could be wider and deeper as the regulator gets ready to issue recommendations on allowing full-fledged Internet telephony in the country. Internet telephony exists in India but in a very limited manner.

“TRAI should be issuing the recommendations in two to three weeks. The framework for Internet telephony (interconnect charges) will be same as that of regular mobile and landline calls,” an official familiar with the development said.

11:00 am Market Check: Benchmark indices are trading higher ahead of outcome from Reserve Bank of India’s policy meet later in the day.

The Sensex was up 139.33 points at 31636.71, and the Nifty was up 46.05 points at 9905.55. About 1428 shares have advanced, 747 shares declined, and 95 shares are unchanged.

Sun Pharma, Reliance Industries, Asian Paints, Dr Reddy’s Labs, ITC, Aurobindo Pharma, Indiabulls Housing and Power Grid Corp are the top gainers on the indices, while top losers include Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Coal India, Tata Steel and TCS.

10:55 am Buzzing Stock: Shares of Greaves Cotton rose 4.6 percent intraday Wednesday as it has entered into strategic partnership with Altigreen Propulsion Labs.

The partnership aims to provide a range of clean energy powertrain solutions for 3-wheeler and micro 4-wheeler commercial vehicles.

10:48 am Market Outlook: The excise duty cut by the government might come as a good news for consumers, but it is seen as more of a political alignment, HDFC Securities Research Head Dipen Sheth said in an interview with CNBC-TV18.

The government on Tuesday reduced the basic excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre. The finance ministry said that the decision was taken in a bid to cushion the impact of the rise in global crude oil prices and to protect the interests of the common man.

“The excise duty cut should be taken by the government positively by the markets but if you ask me personally – I am not in favour of the cut. The government should have been more hawkish in its diffidence in passing on price cuts,” said Sheth.
10:35 am RBI MPC meet outcome: Here’s what bankers have to say about the likely announcements from the central bank.


RBI’s #MonetaryPolicy Committee announces policy decision @2:30 PM.Will MPC give in to noise or maintain status quo? Here’s what bankers say

— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18Live) October 4, 2017


10:21 am Buzzing Stock: Share price of Cyient gained 2.4 percent intraday Wednesday as the company has signed global software licensing agreement with Elpis Squared, a startup software company from Portland.

Cyient and Elpis will jointly pursue utility business opportunities, by leveraging their complementing solutions and technology respectively,” company said in press release.

The partnership will combine Cyient’s data governance management solution – Intelligent Data Management Solution (iDMS) with Elpis’ innovative RE|Grid platform to enhance the role of data in supporting electric utilities’ Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) and Asset Management programs, it added.

10:03 am Market Check: Benchmark indices extended gains from the opening tick, with the Nifty inching towards 9900-mark.

The Sensex was up 113.46 points at 31610.84, while the Nifty was up 32.20 points at 9891.70. The market breadth was positive as 1,281 shares advanced against a decline of 608 shares, while 69 shares were unchanged.

Midcaps were trading at high points of the day and outperformed the frontline indices. Energy, FMCG and pharmaceutical stocks gained during the hour.

Sun Pharmaceuticals, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, HPCL and Indiabulls Housing Finance gained the most, while Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors DVR and Coal India were the top losers.

9:45 am Godrej Agrovet IPO opens: The initial public offering of Godrej Agrovet opened on Wednesday. The company raised a little over Rs 341 crore from anchor investors ahead of its initial public offer on Tuesday.

Over 74.17 lakh shares would be alloted to 25 anchor investors at Rs 460 apiece, which is the upper end of the price band, the company informed stock exchanges.

At this price, the total amount works out to be Rs 341.19 crore.

Reliance Capital Trustee Company, SBI Life Insurance Company, Nomura, Goldman Sachs, Government of Singapore and Birla Sunlife Trustee Company are among the anchor investors.

9:30 am Buzzing Stocks: Shares of major oil marketing companies (OMCs) opened positively in the opening tick on Wednesday after the government reduced the basic excise duty on petrol and diesel (both branded and unbranded) by Rs 2 a litre with effect from October 4, 2017.
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) jumped 3.42 percent at opening on Wednesday, while Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) jumped 1.76 percent. Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) also gained 2.26 percent.

Late on Tuesday, the finance ministry said that the decision was taken in a bid to cushion the impact of the rise in global crude oil prices and to protect the interests of the common man.

“(The) government has reduced the basic excise duty on petrol and diesel (both branded and unbranded) by Rs 2 a litre with effect from October 4, 2017. The revenue loss on account of these reductions will be about Rs 26,000 crore in a full year and Rs 13,000 crore in the remaining part of the current financial year,” the finance ministry announced on Twitter.

9:15 am Market Check: Equity benchmark indices opened on a mildly positive note as the Street is seen waiting for the Reserve Bank of India’s MPC meet outcome later in the day.

The Sensex was up 23.25 points at 31520.63, while the Nifty was up 12.45 points at 9871.95. The market breadth was positive as 555 shares advanced against a decline of 186 shares, while 37 shares were unchanged.

Midcaps outperformed the frontline indices, while on the sectoral front, metals took a hit. Positive moves were seen in auto, FMCG and energy stocks.

ITC, Hero MotoCorp, HPCL and IOC were the top gainers, while Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors DVR and Coal India lost the most.

The Indian rupee opened higher by 14 paise at 65.36 per dollar on Wednesday versus previous close 65.50.

Pramit Brahmbhatt of Veracity said, “After consolidation, the rupee will trade with a neutral to negative bias. I expect the USD-INR pair to trade in a range of 65.20-65.80.”

Dollar eased in trade as the rally triggered by strong US data fizzled on speculation that US president Donald Trump’s choice for the next Fed chair may be a less hawkish candidate than previously thought.

In global markets, Asia is set for a mixed trading day on Wednesday, even after US equities closed higher overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.23 percent at 20,662.48 in early trade and the Topix index advanced 0.1 percent.

US stocks closed higher on Tuesday, building on strong gains from their previous session.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 84.07 points to 22,641.67, setting intraday and closing records, with 3M contributing the most to the gains. The 30-stock index also posted a five-day winning streak.

The S&P 500 finished 0.2 percent higher at 2,534.58 and notched a record close; it also rose for the sixth straight session. Airline stocks Delta and United Continental were the best performers in the S&P, advancing 6.6 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.
The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.2 percent to close at 6,531.71, and also hit a record high.

Top Chartered Accountant’s Daughter Found Dead On Railway Tracks In Mumbai

The 20-year-old daughter of Chartered Accountant was found dead on railway tracks in Mumbai, the police said today.

Pallavi, the daughter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) president Nilesh Vikamsey, was found in central Mumbai.

She had been missing since last evening, after her classes at a law firm at Fort in south Mumbai where she was doing her internship. She was last seen boarding a local train at the Chhatrapati Shivaji metro station around 6 pm, the police said.

When Pallavi did not return home for hours, her family filed a missing complaint.

After a search, the police found her body on the tracks between Parel and Currey Road station last evening. It was today that Pallavi’s relatives confirmed that it was her body, said a senior official.

 “We found body of a woman on tracks between Parel and Currey road yesterday at around 7.30 pm. Today, her relatives confirmed her as Pallavi Vikamsey,” said DCP Samadhan Pawar, spokesperson of GRP (Central Railway).

“Prima facie it appears that the girl committed suicide,” a police officer said.

For now an accidental death case has been registered.

Railways mulls single food stall at all stns

In a significant change of policy change to create more space on platforms, the Railways will soon start removing extra food stalls from platforms. Instead, it will have a single stall, creating more space for commuters.

The other part, the hungry passengers would have to do away with buying their favourites such as samosa, vada pav, ragda, cold drinks and other eatables from the platforms. The railway authorities also claimed that during recent inspections, they have analysed the condition of the food stalls that have been leased on a contract basis.

This will include length and breadth of the food stalls on platforms and its concourse area, its total number at every station, number of daily commuters using a station, et cetera.

The officials said that the stalls attract a large number of buyers, thereby creating a congestion during peak hours.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal, on Saturday, had spoken about decongesting railway stations and make it easy for the mobility of passengers.

“The stations in the suburban section is mainly used by office-goers. We need to cater to faster dispersal and passenger movement rather than providing food,” said a senior railway official.

“A concept, Multi-Purpose Stall (MPS), has already been approved by the Railway Board,” said a senior railway official “This is to ensure availability of space and decongesting at stations”.

The single-stall would keep packed food, medicines, newspapers, books and magazines, milk and cold drinks. The Divisional Railway Manager of each division (the Central and Western Railways has each DRM for Mumbai) will decide the number of MPS and forward it to the Chief Commercial Manager for approval and calling tenders. Once the safety studies are complete, this mechanism would be put into force.

Expand packed Churchgate subway, authorities urged

Transport experts and citizens want a better passegners dispersal system at Churchgate, the terminating point for the Western Railway which ferries 37 lakh people every day.

Churchgate station is among the most crowded spots in Mumbai. Owing to inadequate infrastructure, the subway leading to the terminal is of little use as it gets congested during morning and evening peak hours, leading people to spill out onto the roads. Besides, shops and hawkers plying trade inside the subway also eat into the space.

“This further curtails the space to walk. There is a need for the authorities to have a traffic signal only for pedestrians,” said Nayana Kathpalia, trustee, NAGAR, and a resident of Churchgate.

The residents have been asking the authorities to come up with solutions to the crowding. They claim that several years ago there was a foot overbridge to the station.

The transport experts are of the view that the authorities like BMC and MMRDA, which is constructing the Metro in south Mumbai, should coordinate with the Indian Railways to improve the dispersal system.

They want subways with escalators connecting the proposed Metro stations with the existing subway and create more openings towards the Bombay High Court till Flora Fountain. “Now that Metro is being constructed, this is the time for the authorities to expand the subway so people need not come onto the roads,” said AV Shenoy, member, Mumbai Transport Forum.

The MTF stated they are working on the passenger dispersal system and will write to the government and civic authorities to ease the situation at Churchgate.

Clear land disputes in projects

The Indian Railways has informed the state government and its agencies that until the land acquisition process for projects is not complete, they cannot start a project. “The Railway minister made it clear that unless the land acquisition process is not completed, we would not commence our projects,” said a senior railway official.

One such example is the 6th line between Borivli and Mumbai Central, meant for long distance trains on Western Railway (WR), that is stuck since 2008 when the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-2 commenced. The WR is struggling to shift the rail-overbridge between Khar-Bandra by 40 meters on the east towards Bandra Terminus. The locals are objecting as the spot has a cemetery and are refusing other solutions provided.

“We have agreed to all their demands and are in touch with the government agencies to resolve the issue but nothing has worked out in our favour which has led to an escalation in cost,” said a senior WR official. The cost of the 6th line has escalated from Rs 430 crore in 2008 to Rs 918 crore now.

Opposition from residents of the area is also the reason the WR has been unable to use the 5th line despite its completion, which they could use to add more local train services.

For the 6th line, the WR needs land parcels covering a total area of 2130 sq meters at Vile Parle, Malad, Goregaon and Borivli. They also need 435-meter long land space in pockets too. “We have started work near Santacruz, Goregaon and Vile Parle since March but unless we do not get land parcels, it will be difficult to proceed,” said a WR official.


  • As per information from KEM Hospital, 19 injured victims are yet at the hospital. Akash Parab, 18, who fractured his leg was operated on Monday. Dr Avinash Supe, the dean of KEM Hospital, said, “On Monday, five of the injured in the orthopaedic ward were ready for discharge but they haven’t yet as the paperwork is going on and they will be discharged soon.” Few more patients will be undergoing surgery soon.


  • The WR has paid an ex gratia amount of Rs 1.34 crore to the victims of the Elphinstone Road stampede. They have paid Rs 1.15 crore via cheque to the kin of the dead, Rs 15 lakh to those with simple injuries, and Rs 4 lakh to those with grievous injuries. WR officials said that they are yet to pay Rs 4.85 lakh to the kin of one of the deceased as they are waiting for confirmation of his identity from the police.

IRCTC removes juice brand after former railway minister complains of contamination

The Indian Railways’ catering wing, IRCTC, has delisted a juice brand after former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi complained that he was served a “contaminated” drink onboard a premium train.

Trivedi, who was travelling on board the Kathgodam-Delhi Shatabdi on Dussehra on September 30, was served lemon juice of a well-known brand, which, he said, had ‘kachra’ (contamination).

“The IRCTC (Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation) really needs to pull up its socks. The railways needs to put in checks and balances so that there is some accountability of its subsidiary departments,” Trivedi told PTI.

The railways has reacted to Trivedi’s complaint swiftly and delisted the brand pending laboratory investigation, IRCTC spokesperson Siddharth Singh said.

“We have delisted the agency pending lab investigation.

The brand will not be seen anymore on any train for the time being,” he said.

This incident comes months after a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) which revealed glaring lapses in rail catering services.

Trivedi said the rail minister could not be blamed for such lapses as the departments need to be held accountable.

He also rued that passengers do not protest enough about such issues and in a way they are also responsible for such a sorry state of affairs.

“Action must be taken against the caterer as well as the brand concerned. How can this ‘kachra’ be allowed to be served on trains? There should be an inspection at the factory where the juice was produced to see under what circumstances the drink was being churned out,” he said.

The TMC leader, who quit as the railway minister in 2012 after a controversy over his recommendation for the formation of a rail regulator to hike fares, said there must be surprise checks on vendors contracted by the national transporter.​

Piyush Goyal raps officials, FOB width to be soon extended

Railways min approves extension of 14 FOBs on WR; authorities to chalk out plans for new Parel-Elphinstone FOB which is expected to be ready next year.

The brutal death of 23 people in a stampede at Elphinstone Road station on Saturday was what the Indian Railways needed to wake up from their deep slumber. It was only after this unfortunate incident that a high-level meeting between the Indian Railways and state government machinery took place on Saturday for over 10 hours non-stop.

Sources said that the Union Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal, rapped railway officials for the inadequate measures taken. He also made sure that the state government and its agencies resolve their internal issues as soon as possible.

To begin with, senior railway officials said that they will now make a comprehensive plan for widening the foot-overbridge (FOB) at Elphinstone Road. “We will be studying the existing setup and chalk out plans for its expansion,” said a railway official. This decision is likely to be taken within a week.

At the site, where the stampede occurred, there is extra land next to the tracks which can be utilised for expanding the width of the FOB’s staircase. The existing width of this bridge is 5 meters while the width of the staircase is 2.1 meters. Now, they are looking at widening it further by another 2 meters or so. Sources said that Goyal approved the extension of 14 FOBs on the WR line. The New Parel-Elphinstone Road FOB is expected to be ready in a year for which Railways and the BMC are chalking out plans.

Work on the new FOB, too, will be taken up soon for which the railways and civic authorities will meet and discuss. Similarly, work on the Parel Terminus, too, will be expedited and WR officials clarified that the tender for this project was uploaded on September 29 morning.

BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta was also summoned by Piyush Goyal to discuss the intervention needed by the BMC.

The Commissioner of Police, Dattatray Padsalgikar, was also summoned by the railway minister for the meeting. Rehabilitation is one of the biggest need of the hour for railways. Sources said that the police has been asked to take a stern hand and ensure that railway land is cleared at the earliest. Of the Rs 11.3 crore for FOB’s in 2016-17, only Rs 1,000 was sanctioned in 2016-17 as tenders were yet to be floated.

Phool’ And ‘Pul’ (Bridge) Mix-Up Triggered Mumbai Stampede, Says Survivor

The deadly stampede that killed 23 people and left over 30 injured in Mumbai on Friday may have been triggered by the most unfortunate of mix-ups. A flower vendor’s cry of “phool gir gaya (flowers have fallen)” being mistaken as “pul gir gaya (the bridge has fallen)” might have caused the panic on a bridge linking two suburban train stations, a survivor has told investigators probing the incident, news agency PTI reported on Wednesday.

However, a senior railway official said they were yet to say for sure if this was the only cause of the accident during peak office hours on the narrow bridge connecting Elphinstone Road and Parel stations.

Railway officials, facing severe criticism for apparently ignoring warnings that a tragedy like this could occur, had launched an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the stampede, where vendors selling their flowers and other products are a common sight.

“A woman injured in the stampede told the inquiry panel yesterday that a flower vendor uttered the words ‘phool gir gaya’, which others mistook for ‘pul gir gaya’,” a senior Western Railway official was quoted as saying by PTI.

She told the inquiry panel that this set off panic among the crowd of people on the stairway and they started running, trampling others, Western Railway’s chief spokesperson Ravindra Bhakar said.

The 19-year-old woman, who was going to Vile Parle for her coaching classes, was stuck on staircase. She survived the stampede with some injuries and admitted to the KEM hospital in Parel and later discharged, he said.

Mr Bhakar, however, said it was too early to conclude that this was the only reason for the tragedy. “We will try to get detailed accounts of other injured passengers, locals who rescued them and witnesses as a part of our in-depth inquiry,” he said.

He also said the panel will find out if the stampede was sparked by rumours.

Some other survivors had claimed that a short circuit led to panic among the people crammed on the narrow bridge triggering the stampede.

Master Of Disguise, Serial Rajdhani Thief Caught. Name: Happy Singh

The Kota Railway Protection Force’s (RPF) 45-day-long search for a serial thief, who stole from passengers aboard the August Kranti and Rajdhani Express, which run between Mumbai and New Delhi, culminated in a ‘happy’ arrest. On October 1, they finally caught one Kulbeer Singh alias Happy Singh, who is wanted in at least three theft cases that occurred in August.

The Kota RPF’s search for Happy, 41, began on August 9, after the first case of train theft was registered, in which valuables worth Rs. 60,000 had been stolen from passengers. Another case popped up on August 16, when Rs. 10 lakh worth of belongings were stolen from 15 passengers. Another robbery attempt was made on August 29, but it was unsuccessful. The cops would later learn Happy was the crook that tied all three of these together.

The team formed to hunt for this train burglar comprised Kota RPF inspector Rajiv Kharab and head constables Vinod Kumar and Shishram Gurjar of the Crime Intelligence Branch – 2 of Kota. Their efforts to catch the thief bore fruit on October 1, when they arrested Happy from Ratlam, with help from local Government Railway Police (GRP).

One name was common

Kharab told mid-day, “It was a really tough task for us to identify the accused. We started with perusing the train reservation chart and noticed that on both days (August 9 and 16) one passenger named K Singh was common on both of them. Moreover, on those days, the said passenger had booked tickets for trains connected to Rajdhani from Hazrat Nizamuddin to Kota and then for a return journey after a gap of 20 minutes. While working on this, we also noticed that whenever there was a theft in any of the Mumbai Central-bound trains, Kulbeer Singh had travelled on them.”

With their suspicion rising on Happy, RPF officials contacted a Delhi-based rail ticket agent through whom he used to book AC II tickets. The agent said he’d been booking trains for Happy and his wife on different connected trains for a few routes since the last two months. He furnished Happy’s details to cops, including his mobile number.

Changing faces

According to Kharab, Happy was an impostor who kept changing his appearance for every major theft. On August 9, he’d stolen from three passengers dressed as a turbaned Sikh man, while on August 16, he stole from 15 passengers wearing a moustache and a cap. Then, he changed his look and sported a French beard, after which he unsuccessfully attempted a third heist on August 29. It failed because of increased patrolling post the August 16 incident.

Following this, a team visited his hometown of Amritsar and learned that Happy was not the only crook in the family. He and his wife were habitual offenders in such crimes, thus earning the moniker of ‘Bunty and Babli’. They were wanted by the local Civil Police as well.

When the cops contacted Happy’s father Manjeet Singh, he said, “Since his second wedding, my son started committing such crimes with his new wife.” Cops are verifying whether his wife had a role to play in any of the train crimes. The cops also learned that he lived on rent in the states where he committed crimes.

Following this information, previous cases against him in Gwalior, Jhansi, Jaipur, Kanpur and other routes also came to the fore. Cops were continuously monitoring his location through his mobile phone. He was very sharp in avoiding arrested or being identified. Just before he was caught, he’d changed his appearance once again, and was clean shaven.

On October 1, Happy was finally arrested in Ratlam by the local GRP. After enquiry, he confessed to having committed thefts in Rajdhani trains, He was produced before a court, which remanded him in police custody till October 10. The cops are now recovering the ornaments he’d stolen.